Boilermakers believe Blough will be right guy for turnaround
Purdue quarterback David Blough earned raves for his speech during last week's Big Ten media days.
Around campus, his carefully crafted words struck a different chord.
As teammates and coaches listened to the junior quarterback discuss diversity and the need to use the platform of college football to help others, it reinforced their image of their designated locker room leader.
''He delivered that speech perfectly. He has that voice, presence and charisma about him,'' linebacker Markus Bailey said Thursday at the Boilermakers' annual media day. ''He has that moxie and intelligence, everything that you want in a quarterback.''
Everything except a resume full of wins.
It's not just Blough, though.
Purdue hasn't played in a bowl game since 2012. The Boilermakers have lost four straight to rival Indiana, tying a school record, and attendance continues to dwindle.
On the field, the Cradle of Quarterbacks has become a revolving door - something Blough hopes to change.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Texan didn't help his cause last season by leading the Big Ten in turnovers, as he noted in the speech, but he appears to have a solid hold on the job heading into the Sept. 2 season opener against Louisville and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.
''He wants to shine every time he is given the opportunity. That is the David that I know,'' said new coach Jeff Brohm, a former pro quarterback. ''He does everything you ask and more. It's not fun to experience failure, but I think he has grown from it.''
Blough did not speak Thursday. He is expected to take questions Friday.
Many who watched last week's performance think Blough's attitude might be just what the Boilermakers need.
While his path through West Lafayette, Indiana, certainly hasn't been a cakewalk, he has persevered.
Blough arrived in West Lafayette, Indiana, thinking he could be the next big thing at a school that has produced Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Len Dawson and Bob Griese.
Instead, he wound up redshirting as a freshman.
His first big break came in September 2015 when he supplanted Austin Appleby as the starter - until he missed the season finale at Indiana with concussion-like symptoms.
Blough returned last season with bigger hopes only to see his completion percentage decline and his interception total jump to 21. Though he did manage to start and finish the season as the starter, the Boilermakers wound up watching Darrell Hazell get fired and interim coach Gerad Parker close out the season at 3-9.
Now Blough is playing for his third coach in two years, trying to get acclimated to a system and a new cast of receivers. He'll have to maneuver a difficult schedule that includes non-conference games at Missouri and a Friday night matchup with Mid-American Conference contender Ohio.
While it will be a challenge, the Boilermakers have no doubt that they have the right man to turn things around.
''He made us proud,'' linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley said. ''That speech was a great representation of Purdue. He addressed issues that many times are hard to address, especially with people that are on higher levels than him. He was able to take his platform and do something big with it.''
Notes: Brohm announced Thursday that 10 players had withdrawn from the school. Receivers Malik Kimbrough and Terrance Landers, running backs Keyante Green and David Yancey, offensive linemen Jalen Neal and Johnny Daniels, tight end Brandon Prince, defensive tackle Fred Brown and linebackers Dezwan Polk-Campbell and Tim Faison all have left the team. ... Defensive lineman Giovanni Riviere had foot surgery last week. Riviere and sophomore defensive back Brandon Shuman, who was injured in the spring, are likely to miss the entire season. Defensive lineman Chazmyn Turner (knee) and defensive back Jacob Abrams (meniscus surgery) also are injured as practice begins.
More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25